Consider this scenario: it’s 2 o’clock in the morning. A service member and his Family are fast asleep when they awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do they do? If the Family doesn’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize their safety, or even prove deadly.
In a typical home fire, Families may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention, Kenneth Lamey. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. Fort Bragg Fire and Emergency Services Division is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association, the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 8 to 14.
“Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety, and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, FBFESD is encouraging all Fort Bragg households to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place — like a tree, light pole, or mailbox — that’s a safe distance from the home.
NFPA and Fort Bragg Fire Department offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
Draw a map of the home with all members of the household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
Practice a home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in the home, and practice using different ways out.
Teach children how to escape on their own in case adults can’t help them.
Make sure the number of the home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
Everyone should close doors behind them as they leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
Once Families get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
The Fort Bragg Fire and Emergency Services Division will be visiting all the schools on Fort Bragg and discussing fire safety issues with the children. They will also have displays and handouts at the following locations during Fire Prevention Week:
North Post Exchange and South Post Exchange
Womack Army Medical Center, All American Side
Soldier Support Center, main entrance
For more information about Fire Prevention Week activities at Fort Bragg, contact the Fort Bragg Fire Prevention office at 432-6727.
To learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.